Francoeur to Philly? Burrell to Atlanta? Speculation for now, but let’s make this happen!

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Last thing I take out of that Rosenthal column* this morning:

One potential landing spot for Jeff Francoeur: Philadelphia . . . The Braves, again seeking outfield help, are among the clubs that could take a look at Pat Burrell.

Before anyone goes nuts, remember: there’s a difference between an actual rumor and a reporter playing the “this guy would be a good fit here” game.  So much of that latter stuff gets repeated as actual news when, really, it’s nothing more than people chatting to kill the time.  That said:

  • Both would make some amount of sense in that Frenchy can at least pretend to be the right-handed portion of a platoon and Burrell, for all of the holes in that swing, would actually represent an improvement for the Braves’ atrocious outfield;
  • Rosenthal was the first guy to be talking about the Cliff Lee/Roy Halladay trade last year. At the time everyone thought that was pure speculation too; and
  • While I’d hope that both the Braves and Phillies would aim higher to address their needs, I can’t imagine a situation that would give me more satisfaction than seeing Philly fans go nuts when Francoeur does Jeff Francoeur things. And if Burrell had one big hit to beat Philly in 2011, he’ be worth his salary and strikeouts in schadenfruede value alone.

So, yes, this is just “this guy would fit here stuff” right now. But a boy can dream, can’t he?

*At this point allow me to note that while I do my fair share of criticism of, well, everyone, I am a big fan of Ken Rosenthal. We disagree a lot when it comes to commentary — steroids stuff, competitive balance stuff, etc. — but as a reporter I really dig his work. He’s not always right. No one in the news and rumors game is. But he’s right just as often if not a bit more than most. More importantly, he has what I feel to be the right temperament for the job. You never hear him piling on players or organizations the way so many (myself included, I must admit) so often do.  Personally speaking, he’s unfailingly polite and gracious. I ripped a column of his to shreds once and he sent me an email defending his argument that was way nicer than I deserved. Made me feel like a schmuck. Which is good, because I was being a schmuck. I still behave like a schmuck sometimes, but I try to do it a bit less because as a result of Rosenthal’s graciousness.

I’m not going to canonize the guy or anything — we’re all human, and he’ll likely write something in the next couple of months that will have me tearing what’s left of my hair out — but there are only a handful of reporters who do what he does. Some are good. Some are bad. Some are hostile or arrogant or simply refuse to engage readers, critics and other writers at all. Rosenthal is better than that, and he deserves an occasional shoutout for it.

Watch: Ryan Goins tags Todd Frazier with the hidden ball trick

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The Yankees are facing a convoluted path to the postseason, and they didn’t do themselves any favors after Todd Frazier fell for Ryan Goins‘ hidden ball trick in the third inning of Friday’s series opener. With one out and Frazier on second base, Jacoby Ellsbury skied a deep fly ball to right field, where it was caught by Jose Bautista just shy of the warning track and tossed back to Goins at second. Goins faked the throw to Marco Estrada, then sneakily (or not so sneakily, depending on your vantage point) gloved the ball and caught Frazier off the bag for the third out.

Of course, it helped that Frazier’s back was turned during the throw, so Goins’ fake-out may not have been as obvious as it was when the Yankees reviewed the tape several minutes later.

Goins earned another spot on the highlight reel in the sixth inning, mashing his second grand slam of the season while Frazier — and the rest of the Yankees’ offense, sans one home-run-record-slaying Aaron Judge — scrambled to catch up. The Yankees currently trail the Blue Jays 8-1 in the bottom of the eighth inning, and will need to pull off a comeback (and hope the Astros and Athletics clinch their respective games) before they can lay claim to a playoff spot.

Blue Jays shut down Steve Pearce for the rest of 2017

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The Blue Jays have shut down left fielder Steve Pearce for the remainder of the season following a lingering case of lower back stiffness. Pearce has not appeared in a game since September 8, when he was forced to exit in the first inning after experiencing back pain during his at-bat. Per Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca, he’s scheduled to return to Florida next week, where he’ll receive epidural injections to address the pain.

Pearce, 34, impressed in his first season with Toronto. He battled through a calf injury during the first half of the season and finished the year with a modest .252/.319/.438 batting line, 13 home runs and a .757 OPS through 348 PA. By September, the Blue Jays started testing the waters with outfield prospect Teoscar Hernandez, who shouldered the bulk of the starts in left field after Pearce was sidelined with back issues.

With the Blue Jays all but eliminated from playoff contention, however, there’s no rush to get Pearce back to the outfield. He should be in fine shape to compete for another starting role in spring, and could face stiff competition from Hernandez if the rookie continues building on his .278 average and three home runs this month. The veteran outfielder is slated to receive the remaining $6.25 million on his contract in 2018 and will be eligible for free agency in 2019.